Leadership and Key Members
Reza Ardehali, M.D., Ph.D.
Reza Ardehali, M.D., Ph.D, studies the molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular development. His goal is to apply an understanding of heart development to the creation of novel regenerative approaches to treat heart disease.
Of particular interest to Dr. Ardehali is the intrinsic signaling that trigger cardiac regeneration early in life, molecular events that regulate developmental decisions instructing cardiac progenitor cells to adopt a specific cell fate, and delivery approaches of cardiovascular progenitors into an injured heart.
Dr. Ardehali uses novel transgenic mouse models, as well as mostly human pluripotent stem cells (PSC) to address his research questions. Transgenic mouse models are instrumental for elucidating pathways that regulate cardiac development and regeneration. Additionally, PSCs - both embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells - provide insights into the mechanisms involved in the differentiation and specification of heart cells. He and his team recently identified several novel surface markers that can highly enrich for early cardiovascular progenitors. When delivered into functioning human hearts that have been transplanted into animal models, the cardiovascular progenitors integrated structurally and functionally into the host myocardium. These studies have established the basis for future PSC-based cardiac therapy.
Current projects in his lab include determining the extent of cardiomyocyte division during in utero and post-natal development at a clonal level; assessing the role of resident cardiac stem cells after cardiac injury and during development; using embryonic stem cells to lineage trace cardiomyocyte differentiation; and, using novel in vitro and in vivo models to identify pure populations of cardiovascular progenitors capable of engraftment into the host myocardium.
An assistant professor of cardiology, Dr. Ardehali completed his residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins, followed by clinical training in cardiology at Stanford University. He spent five years in Irving L. Weissman’s lab at Stanford before relocating to UCLA in 2012. In addition to his membership with the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center, Dr. Ardehali is affiliated with the UCLA Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology Program and the American Heart Association.
Dr. Ardehali’s research work is funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the Gilead Research in Cardiovascular Disease and the Steinhart-Reed Foundation.